West Allotment Celtic claimed an important 1-0 victory over league opponents Ryhope CW after a brilliant match-winning chip from Allotment striker Dale Pearson.
Pearson scored the only goal of the game in the 61st minute after a misplaced pass, from Ryhope’s Thomas Bott, found Pearson who cleverly dinked the ball from the edge of the penalty area and over Chris Rookes.
Before the game, Allotment were in desperate need of three points after going eight games without a league victory.
The attacking duo of West Allotment’s Shaun Reay and Dale Pearson proved to be difficult for Ryhope, conceding an early free kick just outside the box after the two strikers exchanged passes.
Ryhope were awarded a free kick minutes later despite protests that the challenge, from Allotment player-manager Paul Stoneman, was played inside the box.
Reay and Pearson continued to pressurise the Ryhope defence with Ryhope goalkeeper Chris Rookes being forced to save Pearson’s low drive with his foot and saving a curling shot from Reay.
Ryhope captain Leon Ryan missed a glorious chance to open the scoring when he headed past the post from a corner.
A big talking point of the game came when Rookes failed to collect a long ball. With Pearson using his ferocious pace, he got to the ball first before being clattered by Rookes on the edge of the box. Surprisingly, Rookes was spared a sending off due to a rushing Ryhope defender.
West Allotment continued to push for a goal, with Reay and Pearson linking up once more. After Reay set Pearson through on goal, he could only fire wide of the target.
Celtic were then rejected a penalty decision after Pearson looked to have been bundled over inside the box. It looked like there was an element of luck missing for the Benton-based side.
However, the deadlock was broken in extraordinary circumstances. After Ryhope’s Thomas Bott gave the ball away, it landed to Dale Pearson. After taking a touch, the striker scooped the ball over Rookes with the ball landing in the back of the net to the delight of the Allotment squad.
Ryhope applied a great amount of pressure on their opponents with Allotment’s goalkeeper Chris Bannon being forced into making multiple saves.
In injury time, Bannon managed to get across quickly to keep out a header, pushing the attempt away for a corner. The following corner resulted in Leon Ryan having another header at goal, with the ball looping onto the top of the crossbar before going out for a goal kick.
After the game, manager Paul Stoneman said his side were “superb from start to finish”, as the team made him “very proud”.
He added: “It could have been a bit more comfortable if we had taken our chances but that (the win) will do for me. A victory away from home is fantastic.”
The victory for West Allotment sees them leap from the bottom of the league table, with their next league fixture being against bottom-placed Chester le-Street on Wednesday night.